Jan 13

Interview Questions – It’s a two way process

Interviews are a two way process!

It’s been a brisk start to January. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of clients, both on the coaching and recruitment sides of the business, which have successfully secured interviews which is brilliant.

Two of the questions I’m asked most frequently are, what should I ask at interview stage and what is the general etiquette? One of the biggest points I always hammer home with any client is that the interview process is a two way conversation, and it’s about you understanding the culture of the business and if you fit with their values and the long term vision of where the business is heading.  I watched the new Thomson holiday advert last night with Simon the Ogre which is very clever about a normal family man ground down in a job he clearly hates, but if he had asked the right questions at interview stage then maybe there would be no need for the ogre in the first place! But what the advert does hit on perfectly, is how much being in a job you hate effects not only you but your family and friends, and how making the wrong employment decision can change you.

This is a big decision for you, and understanding the culture of the business is huge. My pet hate in businesses is the politics of an organisation, where the staff and managers within the organisation are more concerned with chasing their own agendas or covering their own backsides, rather than working together in partnership to further the business objectives.  I’ve worked for big corporate businesses who operate in this way and it’s frustrating, especially as I always like to be honest and up front with colleagues and never really got the politics!

Stability is also a factor. I once joined an organisation that was saddled with debt and had a three restructures within a year and was in freefall, which in hindsight was not the best career move! However, I met some great people who turned out to be good contacts when setting up my own business later down the line, and learnt a lot within a short space of time so it was not a complete loss.

Career progression should also be considered. Its difficult if you’re not currently happy in your role or have been unemployed for a while to think in the short term. Without structured career progression, within a short space of time you could be back on the job market again with another business on your CV/resume due to frustration or as one client but it this week “pure boredom”

I would urge you if you are at interview stage soon, do your research, research and then more research. With social media including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook plus all the company information which is available, there should be no excuses. It’s always useful as well to look at the hiring managers LinkedIn profile to see how long he/she has been in the current business, and how many moves he/she has made. Sometimes the landscape can change if you are recruited by one hiring manager who then moves on to be replaced with someone with a completely different agenda.

So this is a big deal for you if you are currently in the interview process. It’s an exciting time to be looking for a new job with so many new opportunities on the horizon, but make sure you get in right. If you need help then email me on mark@rainsburyrecruitment.co.uk and I’ll be happy to offer free advice or call on 07772945870. I’m always happy to talk!

I’ve listed some example questions that may be helpful below but this is by no means exhaustive. Thanks for reading and good luck if you are currently in the interview process.

Questions:

How would you describe the culture within the organisation?

What are the current challenges within the business?

What’s the long term goals of the business?

What are the career opportunities within the organisation and what opportunities are there to develop?

Can you describe how you like to work and what your style of management is?

What excites you about this business?

How long have you been within the business?

What are the challenges within the role?

What is the structure of the team and the larger organisation?

How would you describe your current team and what are they like to work with on a day to day basis?

Aug 31

CV vs Applications

CVs or Applications? How do they affect the recruiting process for recruiters?

There is no doubt that in a candidate rich market the number of CVs and applications that a recruiter has to review has gone up tenfold. With resources tighter than ever, this has led to noticeable changes in policies around the matching of applications.

The biggest change for the worse is the disheartening regret message: “If you have not heard from us within 14 days, your application has not been successful.” that often appears following the posting of an application. On one hand, I understand why recruiters do this, as resources are always limited, both within in-house recruitment teams and within agency environments, however the damage it does to a brand and the demotivating impact it has on a job seeker is noticeable. It has become recruiting by numbers and recruiters have to decide if they are in a sales or people based industry and the type of approach that they prefer. I for one prefer the latter.

Surely with application tracking systems capability, there has to be a better way of managing the regret process? The biggest single gripe noted in jobseekers’ feedback is that they spend time uploading their details but don’t even get an acknowledgement or a Dear John note of regret. For consumer brands it’s even worse, although most now have an ATS, the number of candidates whose applications are going unacknowledged is staggering.

The upside though is that recruiters have had to become a lot smarter and are having to carry out more diligent selection processes. There was a point in time before times of austerity, where all recruiters would have to do was email CVs over to clients and lo and behold they had a shortlist of candidates and very little effort would have gone into collecting the fee.

However the good recruiters out there, of which there are many, have now learnt to work in partnership with their clients, have become an extension of their clients’ HR/recruiting team and understand the culture of the business and how the attitude of the candidate is as important to an organisation as their skill and ability to do the role. This is the added value that recruiters must deliver to be successful.

In turn, this has led to a more comprehensive screening process by recruiters, so that the shortlisted candidates that are sent over to clients have been registered and screened with a full interview before their details are forwarded to the client, which can only be a good thing.

However, having put candidates through this process, the quality of feedback then given to them by recruiters remains poor, and although the issue lies a lot of the time with their clients, the recruiters should insist on comprehensive feedback for the sake of their own businesses, as I believe that it’s the least they can do for their candidates.

Businesses also have to deal with an increasing number of speculative applications and CVs and again, in an ideal world, each CV or application would be responded to, but this is becoming increasingly more difficult for recruiting teams to deliver due to a lack of resources within the administrative HR team and when CVs are passed to a line manager, they have a habit of leaving them in their in tray with no response.

With the high volume of applications on the market, a recruiter’s job is tougher than ever before, but hopefully most recognise the importance of providing feedback.  At some point, all of us have been through the recruitment process, which has left us with either a positive or negative impression of a business and as a result understand the importance of striving to deliver a best in class recruitment service to all candidates.

Aug 15

Recruiting in Europe

Nigel Farage predicted angry reaction when told that 800,000 British jobs were being advertised in the EU. However, rather than just coming out with a sound bite that will anger Daily Mail and Express readers, do we really need to have 800,000 jobs advertised in EU countries?

 

First and foremost, I want British jobs to be advertised here in the UK, but the bottom line is that if you want to find the best talent for your organisation, then you have to cast your net wider and recruit beyond the UK. My own experiences as a recruiter back this up. I used to work for a global jewellery business, which has well-known brands in the UK, and recruited for watchmakers, which was a really niche role. The long-term answer is always to grow your own talent through training and apprenticeships, but when the pressure is on to recruit for vacancies that need filling now, then you need to get creative and look outside of the UK.

 

Having exhausted every option, when looking for watchmakers in the UK, the business was in risk of losing well-known brands, with these ready to pull out of our stores if there were insufficient watchmakers to cover them, so I put together a recruitment plan covering Europe, which yielded some successes.

 

Similar to my own experience, technology companies, such as Facebook, are desperate to recruit in the UK, but are finding that the talent pool is too small and are having to look further afield and into Europe to bring in individuals who can help them to fulfil their business needs in the immediate term.

 

I network with a lot of local small businesses and more worryingly, business owners are telling me that they are struggling to find specialist candidates, fill roles and retain talent in areas ranging from drainage and plumbing to all things IT related.

 

So, it’s not always a question of going to Europe to get cheaper labour, it’s more about plugging a skills gap within certain industries and perhaps the biggest area for concern is the number of job vacancies within local job centres that remain unfilled as a result of this skills shortage. What are companies supposed to do? Leave their vacancies unfilled and hope that someone comes along to fill them? Or, do they take proactive action and cast their net wider? I know as a recruiter, that my brief from a client is always to get the best candidate available for the role and if that means advertising in Europe, then that’s what I will do.

 

The underlying issue is the need for structured training that carries the same weight as a university degree and good old fashioned vocational courses that get the next generation of job seekers up to speed with the needs of a new wave of technology businesses. So, rather than have MPs come out with sound bites that give them media coverage, we need to look closer at the statistics, understand where the skill gaps are within the UK employment market and come up with an action plan to do something positive about redressing the skills shortage, with a short, mid-term and long-term plan, rather than simply playing to the media or trying to score political points. Or is that just too simple?

 

May 29

Pushing potentially great candidates over the line

When I started my recruitment and coaching business nearly twelve months ago I was fortunate enough to be asked to review a new book on recruitment called The Rare Find by George Anders, which is about spotting exceptional talent before everyone else does and putting it to work.

George tells a great story about the legendary Steve Jobs who before he got to Apple had many different jobs, had a “jagged CV” and found that some businesses were thinking twice about taking him on, fortunately Apple did and the rest, as they say, is history!

This struck a chord with me for several reasons. As a now ex in-house recruiter I used to get continually frustrated at the quality of applications and CVs that came in, especially when I read between the lines on the application and could see that the candidate had potential. It was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to be just another recruiter and believed that I could make a difference as a coach, taking candidates from their lowest point, building their confidence back up again and completely repackaging them for career success.

I like to think that I’m structured when I approach interviews, and there are some great recruitment methodologies that I’ve used in the past, but like most recruiters, I’ve sometimes taken a risk because I believed a certain candidate was right for the business and had potential, even when the interview has not gone to plan or when the CV was not great.

Recently one of my clients, who had been in the same business since leaving school felt that if she was going to make a move into a management role then she would have to move on elsewhere, however after submitting her CV to several recruiters and applying for a number of roles directly, she felt she was going nowhere. She came to me on a recommendation and together we went through every aspect of her job hunt, from her CV, use of social media and how best to approach companies, through to researching a particular company and role, and focused interview coaching.  I gave my client a lot of help and guidance, and when we found a role of interest, although she did not tick every box the recruiting manager saw her potential and hired her. This is without a doubt the best part of my job, that as a recruiter I can make a real difference to people’s lives.

Finally, I have two pieces of advice, one for recruiting line managers and one for candidates:

Recruiting Line Managers: Recruitment is not always a tick box exercise. Not every CV you read will be perfect and always allow for nerves at interview. Take the long-term view on a candidate and on the value that they will be able to add to the business in the future if you take a chance (remember Steve Jobs!) and invest in them now.

Candidates: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Before you start applying for roles, get someone you trust to cast a quality control eye over your CV to check for typos and to make sure that you’re not making wild statements that will get pulled apart at interview. This applies to every candidate at any level. I’ve written CVs for senior board members who have fantastic skills but can’t pull a decent CV together and will be happy to admit it. Check your LinkedIn profile for typos and make sure it reflects what a potential employer is looking for. Do your homework beforehand, both by researching the business and by thinking about and preparing responses for the interview questions that you could get asked, including those about your CV. If you increased sales by 10%, be prepared to be asked about how you did this. The more research and preparation you do, the less of a risk you will be seen as by a business and the more likely they will be to take a measured punt!!

May 12

Does the perfect candidate Exist?

I have thought long and hard about this one and my answer is yes they do, but there are just not enough of them!

As recruiters, we probably all have a template cut out and keep candidate that we could use for every role that comes in, however the reality is that if you cultivate honest and straightforward relationships with candidates, built on mutual respect, then you’ll discover that the perfect candidate is much easier to find than you might think. So here’s my list of the top ten traits that a perfect candidate should have!

  1. Honesty – (This goes for the recruiter too) If there is a genuine reason for not turning up for an interview, we want a candidate who is honest about it. Recruiters have heard every excuse for missing an interview, so we are a pretty sceptical bunch. Since I’ve been a recruiter, I’ve learnt that impending interviews can cause deaths (mainly grandparents) and emergency hospital visits, and can cause car crashes to happen virtually on a daily basis. However this one did backfire on me once when a candidate phoned to say that she had been in a car accident before an interview and when, on this occasion the client reported back to say that they had been really impressed when the candidate had arrived with her car door hanging off. As she subsequently got the job, I have since tried not to be quite so cynical!
  2. Exclusivity – All right, maybe they won’t be strictly exclusive, but candidates don’t do themselves any favours by hawking themselves around every agency.
  3. Availability – We all love a candidate who makes themselves accessible, so that we as recruiters can schedule appointments at short notice.
  4. Well-informed – Candidates who research the opportunity that they’re presented with and who are well prepared before interview stage, without hand holding, are always well regarded.
  5. Passion – A candidate who gets excited by the opportunity presented to them and who is able to show the client real enthusiasm for the role is a must.
  6. Punctuality – The candidate arrives at the appointed interview time. Sounds straightforward, but trust me this is not always the case.
  7. Articulacy – A candidate who can confidently get their key messages over to the recruiter and to the client definitely deserves a place on this list.
  8. Decisiveness – The candidate, who upon accepting a new job offer, is not then open to a counter offer from their current employer is always going to favoured by recruiters. (A tip to candidates, there is normally a good reason why you want to leave your current employer and it’s normally a culture issue. Remember, this won’t change by them simply giving you a pay rise!)
  9. Patience – Sometimes the client, for a number of reasons, does not come back to a candidate straight away and it’s important that they give them and the recruiter some space.
  10. Ability to take rejection – Some you win, some you lose, but if the client gives this candidate feedback, they can take it on chin, learn from it and move on to the next opportunity better prepared as a result.

So, that’s my list, but I guess I could have done this the other way round and looked at the top ten traits that a candidate looks for in the perfect recruiter. Either way, the key to creating perfect candidates (and to being the perfect recruiter) is taking the time to cultivate relationships that are built on trust from both sides, so that you are both successful going forward.

Apr 26

Can Twitter Help your Job Search?

Most people within the job market, including recruiters looking for leads, understand LinkedIn and the power it can have as a job hunting tool, but how many recruiters and candidates out there use Twitter as a job hunting tool? The answer is that surprisingly few, as a percentage overall, use it well and many see it primarily as a tool to market themselves.

Part of this is down to the profile that Twitter has within the media and the perception of many that it’s just used by celebrities and media types and that there are more down sides to it than up. The knock-on effect I gather from the candidates that I speak to, is that a lot of them are just getting to grips with LinkedIn and cannot yet see the value that Twitter can bring to their job search.

This is a shame, as Twitter like any other job hunting tool that you use, can be really productive both for the jobseeker and the employer. I run an employment coaching and CV writing business alongside my recruitment business and, without fail, every candidate I deal with falls into one of three categories, either they don’t have an account and will never see the value of Twitter, or they have set up an account out of curiosity and have let it lie dormant, or they use Twitter, but only to follow hobbies and interests.

Twitter, without a doubt, is a great job hunting tool providing some brilliant information and links to blogs and websites. One of my favourite Twitter stories is of a client of mine who had just embraced LinkedIn but was adamant that Twitter could add little value to his career search. After some arm twisting, we opened an account for him and followed some industry job boards, which were an interesting source of information, but the light bulb moment for my client was when we started to follow companies’ recruitment accounts. We followed one of the big 4 supermarkets’ accounts and right at that moment a role was posted in his chosen field, we followed the link to the recruiters’ site, where he applied for the position, went through the selection process and has now been part of the business for nearly 12 months.

The interesting part to this story is that the recruiter had not put the vacancy anywhere else apart from on Facebook and Twitter and on their own website, so no cost was involved in recruiting the individual involved.

However, a lot of recruiters for some in well-known brands are still to maximise Twitter as a recruitment tool. They, without doubt understand the impact, but it is mainly down to a lack of resources that they are struggling to stay on top of their Twitter accounts and as a result, are not having much success hiring through Twitter, so continue to direct their resources elsewhere, as they don’t see what value Twitter adds.

Before I went self-employed, I worked for an American owned firm for whom 30% of their appointments within the States came from social media and 10% of these were through Twitter, yet somehow this has still yet to translate to the same figures two years on within other companies in the US.

I still believe that the slow take up of Twitter as a recruitment or job hunting tool in the UK, is maybe down to the media image of it as a gossip tool and as a consequence, job seekers are not picking up on its benefits and neither are employers, who are failing to appreciate the potential audience they can reach and who are still prioritising their resources elsewhere, but thankfully this is changing.

So if you’re a job seeker reading this, open a Twitter account today and follow potential employers, as the likelihood is that sooner or later you could spot that a dream opportunity!

Mar 27

Psychometric testing, is it worth it?

Psychometric testing, is it worth it?

I’m normally black and white in my views on recruitment with very little shades of grey but when posed the question “psychometric testing, is it worth it?”, then I have to say that when it’s done well and the test provider and the employer work in partnership, then yes it can add great value to the business and the recruitment process, but when it’s not completely embraced by the business and the provider does not truly understand the company culture, then no.

I have been fortunate to see both sides of the argument in practice. I worked for a company where the psychometric test was engrained in the culture of the business, both from within HR and from within the operational team who were completely committed to the process and always made sure that the framework of an interview was based on the guidelines from the results the candidate had achieved in the psychometric test. As a recruiter you had confidence in the process and were comfortable that the candidates put forward were right for the culture of the business based on the responses they had given.

The second example was whilst working for an overseas company, which used an applicant tracking system (ATS) that the business had purchased before I had joined. The new HRD quite rightly wanted to raise the standard of hires across the estate and believed that psychometric testing was a key component in this. The problem here arose from the fact that not all areas of the organisation were completely sold on the value that this could bring and consequently other members of the management team would look at the results of the psychometric test almost as an afterthought, which ultimately undermined the value of the exercise.

The other issue in this instance was with the test provider. It was a large global provider and I spent a week with one of its team members driving him round our various outlets, to enable him to interview prominent members of our business and to generally try to understand the company culture.

However, despite the visits and various conference calls, I got the feeling that he never really did get under the skin of the business and the resulting test material produced was very American and did not really relate to the British culture. After several rewrites the new test went live, but the psychometric test part of the software kept crashing which meant we had to ask candidates to reapply for roles and as a result this was probably the worst candidate experience I have ever been involved with.

Which leads me nicely on to the other major issue impacting on whether a business gets the psychometric test wrong or right. I’m passionate about candidates having a good recruitment experience irrespective of the outcome and this sometimes can be the Achilles Heel of the test in that it can be so far geared towards the needs of the business that the needs of the candidate are often ignored, to its detriment. This should be considered in the testing and reviewed throughout the process, so that all parties are happy before publishing.

I’m working with a candidate at the moment whose recent test was over an hour long and although having worked at a senior level previously he struggled to understand where he fitted on some of the profile questions, which led to him second guessing certain questions. This is a dangerous path for any candidate to go down, as ultimately what the potential employer is left with is an inaccurate picture of the skills and qualities that the candidate can bring to the business. My advice to anyone going through an interview process at the moment, where the psychometric test is part of the application process is to be honest with your responses and don’t try to second guess what the employer is looking for as this could backfire on you.

Ultimately it’s also up to test providers and businesses to be on the same page from the outset. If you decide that psychometric testing is right for you then you should always bring it back to the recruitment experience of the candidate, who in the long term will be the key component of any businesses success going forward.

Mar 10

Using Social Media for Recruitment

Don’t do Social Media Unless You Do It Properly!

As I’ve written in previous blogs, I love using social media and the game changing effect it has on recruitment. I love how accessible it makes candidates to recruiters and visa versa, but beware, get social media wrong and you run the risk doing a huge amount of damage to your brand.

The problem for any recruiter, especially one in-house, is that you’re frequently busy recruiting for high volume vacancies with very little resources, time is precious and your team is already pushed to the limit, with line managers breathing down your neck to get vacancies filled as quickly as possible, so social media becomes very much an afterthought, something you feel you must do, but can you assign time for it every day to keep on top of it and really do it justice?

One retailer I work with has a recruitment team of four who are expected to fill all management vacancies across 600 odd stores, head office and a warehouse, cannot use agencies and have to manage volume recruitment campaigns and all other ad hoc requests, as well as manage the company’s social media strategy, so how do they achieve this consistently?

The answer is with difficulty, but it is achievable. However, businesses need to look at their structures to take into account social media and where it sits in the business. I’ve had both good and bad social media experiences. The good was from London Midland. After being late yet again on my way back from London, I finally started tweeting my frustration. To my shock I got a response from London Midland and had a very civil Twitter conversation with them, with the train company promising positive action, which resulted in me feeling much better about the delayed journey. However, the delivery of this real time social media service was only possible because the company ensures that Twitter feeds, Facebook and all social media are fully staffed and monitored at peak times, which is a luxury that most businesses don’t have. Although, if these companies were to look at their customer service needs and put a structure in place to respond to these, then the effective use of social media should surely be factored in, as social media use is only ever going to grow.  The bad experience, I’d rather not mention, but my guess is that the offending businesses don’t yet have the resources in place or really understand the value of good social media and the opportunity that it provides to communicate directly with their clients and customers.

I also wish some candidates would think twice before posting on social media. What candidates don’t realise is that they are building their own brand, either good or bad, each time they post. Before writing this blog, I had one senior area manager on the phone to me needing job hunting advice. She asked me to take a look at her LinkedIn profile to see what I thought. Her picture showed her in a bar with a drink in each hand, which she felt would make her seem friendlier! This is all very well and good, but as now over 70% of employers will check your LinkedIn profile and other social media before hiring, this is probably not a great first impression to make.

Depending on which research you read, your LinkedIn profile will be as important as your CV within the next two years in landing you your next job. Both recruiters and candidates have to respond to this or risk damaging their business or personal brand.

If I’m honest, I struggle to keep on top of all of my social media as a small business and there are newly expanding platforms that I’ve deliberately kept off for the moment until I fully understand their functionality and impact, so that when I do decide to launch these it will be hopefully be a far more positive experience for both me and my potential clients.

Feb 25

My Top Ten CV and Social Media Hints and Tips

For anyone who has read a previous blog should know by now how passionate I am about recruitment and coaching which is useful considering it’s what my I do for a living!

One of the pieces of work I have recently been involved is a interview boot camp which we have ran for universities, colleges and individuals. When we do feedback or question and answer sessions at the end of the day one of the questions I’m always asked is how do I stand out from the crowd when so many people are going for the same role?

This is a fair question. There is plenty of free advice on line at the moment but each website has conflicting information on what makes a good CV? How should I approach interviews? What preparation should I do? How should I use LinkedIn?

I am going to add my own free advice at the end of this blog but what I generally believe and what I tell my clients is that we don’t invest enough time in developing ourselves or our careers. In a consumer driven the market we invest in homes, gadgets, holidays , clothes, social life but do you invest enough time in the one thing that will help your income?

If you are looking for a job at the moment, I know that it’s tough out there. I work with clients and organisations who are also finding it hard especially when research is telling us that there are an average of 20 applications to every vacancy.

Your CV is the starting point with any potential employer and is where you need to make an impact. With so many applications for one role at the moment your CV has 45 seconds on average with a potential employer who may be looking at your skills it is vital then that you get this right but the startling fact is 90% of us could improve our CV’s or need a complete CV makeover!!

LinkedIn the business social network site now has nearly 150 million members worldwide and experts believe will be as important as the CV within the next two years and many of us still only have the most basic of profiles.

As promised my top ten tips for job hunting this month.

  1. Look in detail at the role you are applying for. Think about the key skills the business is asking you for and tailor your CV around it.
  2. Don’t put your date of birth on your CV. Age discriminations laws have made this no longer necessary and businesses should not ask for it on your application.
  3. Think about the 45 second rule. Make an impact with your CV but make it relevant to the reader.
  4. If you are not on LinkedIn then you should be. 90% of all recruiting line managers and recruiters are on the site and this is your opportunity to connect with them.
  5. Take the time to fill in as much information on your profile as possible. This is an opportuntuity for you to sell yourself to recruiters and potential employers and don’t forget to put your contact details on the CV including email address as your application won’t get anywhere!
  6. If you are applying for a role that needs a photograph make it business like and appropriate for the role you are applying to do. For example if you are applying for a job as a nanny think Mary Poppins rather than looking like you have just finished a night clubbing!
  7. 70% of potential employers will look at your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles before making a recruitment decision. If you are job hunting you may want to think about this before posting material that you would not want potential employers to see.
  8. Your CV should have a sensible structure, with a profile statement, key skills, career highlights, career history and education followed by any professional memberships.
  9. Do not put hobbies and interests on your CV as this has a habit of putting potential employers off especially if you have a unusual hobby!
  10. If applying for a role put together a well-structured covering letter or note. Don’t try to be quirky as the recruiting manager may not get your humour. Keep it professional at all times.

If you need any more help and advice please visit the Rainsbury Recruitment & Coaching website  www.rainsburyrecruitment.co.uk for more blogs and useful help. If you need help with your CV then give us a call for free advice on 07772945870.

Jan 20

Is the CV Dead

Is the CV dead?” is the title of this blog and it is a question I frequently see debated across HR forums and LinkedIn groups with strong arguments proffered both for yes and for no. Now amongst the many hats that I wear when I’m helping candidates is that of a CV writer, and having had a chance to think about this question I’ve come down firmly in the “no” camp, which is not just in the spirit of self-preservation, and have come up with five good reasons why I think the CV will be around for a while yet.

  1. Like every recruiter, I’ve seen good CVs, bad CVs and some very random CVs, but that’s the attraction, it tells me as a recruiter how you use information and how you put it together in a logical process to sell yourself and lets you see some of the personality that is helpful when reading a hiring decision. Somehow your LinkedIn profile does not do this yet in the same way as about half the clients I deal with consider LinkedIn a nice to have rather than a must have and don’t seem to put the same amount of effort in as they would in a CV. Despite all of the advice available some candidates still get some of the details in their CV spectacularly wrong and despite potentially having the skills for the role their application is not going to go any further.
  2. There are still a lot of potential candidates on the market who do not use LinkedIn or Twitter. I recently supported a council recruitment event in the Midlands where a number of the candidates were in the process of being made redundant. In an unscientific poll of 20 candidates I met only 1 who had a LinkedIn account, with over half who had never even heard of it. For them and for many of the Welfare to Work candidates that I work with, the CV will be the starting point of the job search for some time to come.
  3. One business that I know of has already run a campaign stating that it only wanted YouTube videos from candidates by way of application and that it wasn’t interested in receiving CVs. Whilst I always applaud innovation in recruitment, and this campaign certainly grabbed a few headlines at the time and no doubt the company filled some its roles as a result, I know the number of applications received was down on previous campaigns, and that the company now accepts the CV alongside with the  YouTube downloads. For me, social media and the CV can work well alongside each other and can complement the candidate as a package, but I think it will be a while before social media makes the CV obsolete.
  4. A lot of candidates still like to speculatively approach companies and are encouraged to do so by job boards. This is a proactive approach to take as many businesses have a talent bank even if they have no immediate roles available so it can pay off. I just can’t see at the moment candidates speculatively only sending links to their Twitter accounts and LinkedIn profiles, rather than a full CV, but will be interested to see if this changes over time.
  5. The CV will evolve and we are already seeing some fantastic innovation in this area. I’ve been really impressed by some of the video technology being used, although from a personal view point I’m not sure how my Black Country accent would come across if I ever had to do one, which is where I have a slight concern, that non HR professionals will focus on how the candidate is in front of the camera rather than on the content they are putting across.

So for what it’s worth the CV is vital to the application process for now and looking at some of the research from recent polls of HR directors I’m certainly not alone in thinking this.

If the CV does go what will replace it? Do we then make selection decisions based purely on social media profiles? As I’ve already mentioned, I love social media and the positive impact it can have, but I don’t think that most businesses at the moment are ready to take the step of judging an entire application process based solely on it. Most small businesses I work with certainly are not. At large businesses, will a recruiting line manager take into account every LinkedIn profile, every Facebook post and examine every tweet sent and categorise and evaluate these as part of the recruitment process? My guess is not for now. Although most businesses now have a robust social media policy, they do not yet make it a part of their selection criteria.

So for me, I guess I’ll be wearing my CV writing hat for a little while yet and I have to say I’m pleased about that for now. Long live the CV!